Christmas morning brought special joy to hundreds of children in hard-up families across Clydebank, thanks to caring, sharing residents.

Kids who might otherwise have been disappointed because their mums and dads could not afford to buy toys, woke up to discover Santa had come and gone in the night, leaving an array of gifts.

The special deliveries to children whose parents are struggling to make ends meet was made possible thanks to this year’s Toybank Appeal run by West Dumbarton Community Foodshare.

This week, Clair Coyle, a trustee of the Community Foodshare, said she was delighted to report that a total of 500 children had been received toys this year – more than 70 more than last year.

Clair told the Post: “That is an excellent total and is up from the 436 children who received toys last year.

“I wish to say a special thank to all the very generous people who donated toys for the appeal. We were inundated, but it ensured that children who might have gone without on Christmas day were not left out.

“We had donations from nurseries, schools, organisation and businesses - the kindness was overwhelming.”

Clair also paid tribute to volunteers, who, she said, had worked tirelessly to ensure the operation went smoothly.

“Over the past three weeks, everybody has given up so much time and worked very hard to ensure the parcels went out on time. They have done an amazing amount of work.”

This was the third year of the Toybank appeal and several convenient drop-off points were set up for donations.

Clair said: “There are many families who are really, really struggling and depend on the foodshare.

“The biggest issue for many is delays with benefits payments which is a real problem for them as they try to cope with the demands of the season and having to pay bills.

“Also, people apply for budgeting loans which are automatically paid back through deductions from the money they receive in benefits. But it’s a catch 22 situation – the money they receive is already quite low and the loan repayments reduce it even further.

“Referrals are increasing and our phone has been going crazy with people looking for support as they become reliant on welfare.

“Each Christmas it is more apparent families are struggling to provide gifts for their children. What should be a season of joy is one of worry and debt for many in the local area.”

The Post’s office in Clydebank was one of the collection points and Henry Ainslie, group editor of Clyde Weekly Press, said the success of this year’s appeal was proof once again that West Dunbartonshire residents were ready and willing to help others in need.

He added: “Christmas, particularly, puts additional stress on families emotionally and financially, especially when money is very tight.

“We were delighted to have our office included in the network of drop-off points and judging by the amount of gifts that came through our doors, we realised the appeal this year was receiving widespread support.

“Well done and sincere thanks to everyone.”

Clair said the community foodshare’s programme of help would continue, with the growing and cooking project showing families how home-grown food could be turned into meals. The school uniform bank will also be important in the year ahead.